EPISODE 372: with special guest MATT GOURLEY
In this episode, Tyler and David are joined by improviser/podcaster/teacher Matt Gourley to discuss James Bond, Hannibal, and much more.
Tags: battleship pretensiondavid baxmatt gourleysuperegotyler smith
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I agree with Mr. Gourley about not caring for Hannibal but for different reasons. I think by making the character of Will Graham something along the line of the autism spectrum they diminish his ability to understand and sympathize with the killers. By making him autistic (or whatever it’s supposed to be, I too only watched one and a half episodes…) they’ve taking his abilities and instincts and made them into something that seems more a magical byproduct than something interesting in all of us, specifically the ability to do evil. I always found his character interesting because, as Tyler said on this episode, we all have wicked urges and we all are capable of visiting the darkness within us, but by making him autistic it seems less like an inherent ability that he has honed and embraced and more like a grand cosmic accident.
That’s just my stupid opinion, though…
David, you mentioned that “we’re not our fathers” in regards to being okay with women having prominent roles in, if not outright leading, feature films, but really, the further back you go in film history, the more you’ll see women at the center of films, culminating in the 1930s, when women held a demonstrable amount of power and presence. The highest-grossing films of that decade? Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (some of that seems to be due to rereleases, demonstrating that the lasting appeal of women in central roles didn’t wane). I’m No Angel, a film all about a woman who consistently and successfully takes advantage of men, beat King Kong at the box office in 1933, coming in second. In first? Queen Christina. In fact, every single film that made the top ten that year features at least one woman, with agency, in a prominent role. If anything, our fathers, and even more so our grandfathers and beyond, were much more open to seeing stories about women than the men of today are. Well, not MY grandfather, he never was much for the movies. But you get my meaning.
Beyond simple attendance, though, you pick just about any ten films made by a Hollywood studio between 1930 and 1960 (but especially the 1930s), you’re nearly guaranteed to just plain find better roles for women – more dynamic, more compelling, more challenging and diverse and central to the story of which they are a part – than those that are produced today.
My suspicion is that changing attitudes towards dating play a hefty role. If you were trying to take a girl out in the 1930s through 1950s, the expectation was that the film selected would cater to her in some demonstrable way. Now, the expectation is that a girl better just get onboard with whatever her fella wants to see, because damned if he’ll be caught dead in some “girly movie.” Also at play is the rise of women in the work force since the 1950s/60s – from what I’ve read, women attended matinees consistently while their husbands and children were at work and school, respectively, which drove attendance for melodramas, musicals, and romantic comedies.
But the bottom line is that none of these forms, common footholds for female protagonists, would have flourished if not for some amount of male support, and the sad fact is that audiences of the yesteryear, men especially, simply were, demonstrably, more sophisticated than those of today. It has nothing to do with the rise of action movies and “explosions” or the “dumbing-down of culture” or whatever shorthand is favored most lately, but with a simple willingness amongst a huge portion of the population to see a tremendously diverse range of films, and studios recognizing and catering to that.
Hey Tyler, are you at all looking forward to Million Dollar Arm? I thought you would because it’s written Tom McCarthy, whose work you seem to adore.
Matt Gourley was correct about there being a story behind Bob Hoskins getting ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit.’ Ultimately, what got him the gig over other actors was his uncanny ability to keep an eyeline with non-existent characters that would have to be animated in later.